If there’s one thing Julianna Pena isn’t afraid of, it’s dreaming big. That confidence helped her secure a women’s Bantamweight title shot against a seemingly unstoppable Amanda Nunes at UFC 269, and then it kept her in the fight after a terrible first round. In the second, Nunes suddenly seemed to gas out. Pena pounced and battered her to the canvas before locking in a tap and becoming the new queen at 135 pounds (watch highlights here).
“The Venezuelan Vixen” will undoubtedly have to run it back with Nunes before moving onto other fights in the division, but that dream big philosophy is still there. Another dream she’d love to come true: a fight with another legend of women’s mixed martial arts (MMA), Ronda Rousey.
“It would be amazing to pull Ronda Rousey back out of retirement,” Pena said in an interview with The New York Post. “It would be great to have her come back to UFC and fight again.”
And according to Pena, there’s enough bad blood between her and Rousey from their stint together on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) in 2013 that it could happen.
“I don’t know that she’ll recall this because [I] ended up taking out her entire team,” Pena added. “But when [I] won ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and got out of the house, she told me that, ‘You’re gonna give me a tougher fight than Miesha Tate, but when that day comes I’m still gonna kick your ass.’”
Rousey never really spoke about Pena outside of TUF, but Pena certainly generated several headlines at Rousey’s expense, celebrating the fact that she, “made Ronda cry” by beating Shayna Bazler and saying, “No one cares about [her] and her fat arms anymore,” after Rousey’s loss to Nunes.
Of course, it’s worth noting that Rousey is happily retired from everything at the moment and enjoying the family life with husband Travis Browne. The two just celebrated the birth of their first child together in Sept. 2021 so it’s safe to say “Rowdy” has more important things on her mind than Pena.
But that being said, whenever a champion as dominant as Nunes falls, it shakes up the whole landscape. Would Rousey accept a dumptruck full of money to step in and face Pena for a belt and MMA redemption? If the timing was right, it could be possible. Unfortunately for us fans, the timing is definitely not right at this moment.